Bring a Loupe: An Early Look At The Christie's May 2016 Auction, Featuring Some Masterpieces From Breguet And Patek

The Earliest Patek Philippe 530 Oversized Chronograph In Steel, With A Sector Dial

This 530 Steel is the earliest known example, tracing all the way back to 1938.

Okay, we’ll start with the most exciting watch to me. This thing is out and out madness, a true chalice watch for me personally. What you’re taking a gander at is a reference 530 – the oversized Patek chronograph from the vintage era – considerably larger than the 1463, and certainly the 130/533, etc. The 530 is a remarkably special watch, and in yellow gold, they fetch prices into the 200ks and 300ks; for rose, double that; and for steel – well, you can imagine. Also, what makes this steel 530 so special is that first, it is in unique and honest condition, belonging to the very same collector throughout the previous 40 years! What’s more, it’s a sector dial! What’s more, it’s signed by Astrua, Torino – a retailer that, in my experience, ordered quite a few of these oversize chronographs ( JC Biver’s rose 530 is additionally signed by Astrua). Goodness, coincidentally, this is the earliest known steel 530 currently, dating right back to 1938! It even pre-dates the other sector steel 530 sold in the 175 sale .

I realize I often regale you with horological hyperbole, yet this is one of the most exciting watches I’ve seen in a while. The larger 36.5 mm size, the steel case, the sector dial, the four decades of uninterrupted ownership, and the honest nature of this watch make it a lifer for me – a true exit watch. Price is expected to be $520,000 to $820,000 – so it’s safe to say this one will not be joining the Clymer collection any time soon. However, damn, in the event that I could, I really would.

1970s Breguet Triple Calendar Chronograph Wristwatch

While the vibe of this watch is very 1950s, it was really made and sold in the 1970s.

Mid-century Breguet wristwatches fascinate me. The company was barely alive, with by far most of their yield going into the Type XX’s and such – so when you see a really elegant watch come out of Breguet in those days, it’s exciting. This one is no exception for a few reasons. What we have here is a triple calendar chronograph, and keeping in mind that it has a killer 1950s look to it, it was really made and sold in the early 1970s. I never remember seeing a triple calendar chronograph Breguet like this, and archives indicate it was offered to a Mr. Belmondo – which Mr. Belmondo is up for debate, yet we’ll let your creative mind take this one. A very rare, very top of the line, and very beautiful watch indeed. Price here is 40,000 to 60,000 Swiss.

A Tiffany-Signed Floating Cosmograph Daytona

The 16520 was the primary self-winding Daytona, and this example features a rare Tiffany signature.

With the release of the new Rolex Daytona, there has been an increased spotlight on the presently discontinued self-winding watches, especially the early 16520s. This is a very early watch, dating to 1989 and featuring the pursued gliding Cosmograph dial – yet makes it more interesting that it is retailed and signed by Tiffany. Simply a cool watch, in case you’re into the numerous lines of text. Estimate is $42-$82K USD.

A Unique And Historically Important Self-Winding, Quarter-Repeating Breguet Pocket Watch With Equation Of Time And Sectoral Power Reserve

This is one of only 15 “perpetuelle” watches made by Breguet, and one of two with an equation of time.

To balance all the wristwatch hooplah, Christie’s has been able to find what must be described as a phenomenally significant and complicated wristwatch made by the hand of no less than Breguet himself. This watch, a 55 mm pocket watch dating to the year 1800, features a quarter repeater, equation of time show, calendar, and sectoral power reserve marker. Above all, this is one of only 15 self-winding Breguets, and one of two with an equation of time mechanism – the other being the legendary reference 160, “Marie Antoinette” pocket watch. The watch has had several distinguished owners, including Jean Victor Marie Moreau, a French general that was at one point a close lieutenant of Napoleon, before being banished to the U.S. by his former friend for fear of competition. The watch has been published in several significant Breguet texts, and George Daniels himself described the watch as one of the master’s seminal watches. Some features include:

Illustrated and described in The Art of Breguet, George Daniels, 1975, p. 166, pl. 120a-c.

Illustrated in A. L. Breguet, Watchmaker of Kings, Professor Thomas Engel, 1994, p. 104-105.

Illustrated and described in Watches, Cecil Clutton and George Daniels, Viking Press, 1965, fig. 352-4.

Breguet No. 217 is considered one of the master’s most significant pieces.

When the watch sold in 1965, it was described as “presumably the finest Breguet watch to be offered available to be purchased since well before the war.” It offered to the acclaimed Portuguese collector and workmanship connoisseur Antonio Medeiros e Almeida for the then enormous amount of £8500. This event was sensational enough for the Daily Telegraph in London to report the story the next day under the heading “£8500 PAID FOR BREGUET LEVER WATCH.”

Obviously, the importance of this watch relative to pretty much any of the wristwatches featured in the sale are incomparable, however the estimate here isn’t a lot higher than a large number of the Patek wristwatches in the sale – which shows you how much times change. This superlative Breguet will be offered at an estimate of $620,000 to $1.2 million.

A Few More Mega Pateks

The Christie’s May 2016 sale will likewise include an extra modest bunch of significant level Patek Philippes. Here is only a little testing of what else will be offered.

Dual Crown Reference 2523/1: Estimate $520,000 to $820,000

Unique Dial 3940J: Estimate $31,000 to $51,000

Original Owner 3448 White: Estimate $310,000 to $510,000

Full Set 130 In Steel: Estimate $130,000 to $180,000

Steel 1503 With Black Dial: Estimate $31,000 to $51,000

Second Series 2499: Estimate $620,000 to $920,000

Original Family 2497: Estimate $130,000 to $230,000

Closeout And Preview Details

The “Rare Watches” Sales will take place on May 16th, 2016, at 10 a.m. at the Four Seasons Geneva. The worldwide previews for features of this sale will include the accompanying:

1. Istanbul: April 5/7, Soho House

2. Hong Kong: April 18/19, Christie’s office

3. Taipei: April 21/22, Christie’s office

4. New York: May 4/6, Christie’s office

5. Geneva: May 13/15

The index for this sale isn’t yet online, yet check back here next week and you ought to be able to see the entire sale. As I mentioned above, this is a very impressive selection of watches, and we are surely in for a great weekend of watch sales.

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